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Research Papers

A Laboratory Study on Effects of Cycling Helmet Fit on Biomechanical Measures Associated With Head and Neck Injury and Dynamic Helmet Retention

[+] Author and Article Information
Henry Y. Yu

Biomedical Instrumentation Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Alberta,
Edmonton, AB T6G 1H9, Canada
e-mail: hyyu@ualberta.ca

Christopher R. Dennison

Biomedical Instrumentation Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Alberta,
Edmonton, AB T6G 1H9, Canada
e-mail: cdenniso@ualberta.ca

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received March 6, 2018; final manuscript received July 17, 2018; published online October 17, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Barclay Morrison.

J Biomech Eng 141(1), 011007 (Oct 17, 2018) (13 pages) Paper No: BIO-18-1119; doi: 10.1115/1.4040944 History: Received March 06, 2018; Revised July 17, 2018

There is a scant biomechanical literature that tests, in a laboratory setting, whether or not determinants of helmet fit affect biomechanical parameters associated with injury. Using conventional cycling helmets and repeatable models of the human head and neck, integrated into a guided drop impact experiment at speeds up to 6 m/s, this study tests the hypothesis that fit affects head kinematics, neck kinetics, and the extent to which the helmet moves relative to the underlying head (an indicator of helmet positional stability). While there were a small subset of cases where head kinematics were statistically significantly altered by fit, when viewed as a whole our measures of head kinematics suggest that fit does not systematically alter kinematics of the head secondary to impact. Similarly, when viewed as a whole, our data suggest that fit does not systematically alter resultant neck compression and resultant moment and associated biomechanical measures. Our data suggest that backward fit helmets exhibit the worst dynamic stability, in particular when the torso is impacted before the helmeted head is impacted, suggesting that the typical certification method of dynamical loading of a helmet to quantify retention may not be representative of highly plausible cycling incident scenarios where impact forces are first applied to the torso leading to loading of the neck prior to the head. Further study is warranted so that factors of fit that affect injury outcome are uncovered in both laboratory and real-world settings.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Block diagram presenting the parameters, which describe an impact experiment: impact speed, anvil type, and type of impact (head first impact or simulated torso first impact)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematic showing four fit scenarios used in the present study. Note that the schematics corresponding to normal and oversized fit appear to be similar. In normal and oversized fit, the helmet position on the Hybrid III head is the same. However, in the oversized fit scenario, the Hybrid III head is fit with an oversized helmet as opposed to a properly sized helmet (that was used for normal fit).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

The impact experiment comprises a guided drop mechanism to which the Hybrid III head and neck are connected. The impact location on the helmet is controlled by making adjustments to the fixture connected to the base of the Hybrid III neck. The anvil is also adjustable in terms of its position and angle of inclination. Exemplar images showing head first and torso first impact are included. Specific to torso first impacts, the exterior of the helmet was 25 mm from the anvil surface when the foam covered wood arrested the sliding gimbal. Two high-speed cameras placed approximately as shown record high-speed video.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

The head-helmet displacement vector conveys the amount of the forehead exposure at any point in time over the impact event. At 0 ms, the initial position indicates the magnitude of forehead exposure pre-impact. The abrupt increase in displacement is a result of the impact event that tends to cause relative motion between the head and helmet.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Resultant linear head acceleration for: (a) 4 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (b) 6 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (c) 4 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (d) 6 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (e) 4 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil; and (f) 6 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil. Note that the kinematics begin to convey increasing magnitude at approximately 10 ms. This 10 ms offset from 0 ms was chosen to increase the reader ability to view the time variation in measurements.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Resultant angular head velocity for: (a) 4 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (b) 6 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (c) 4 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (d) 6 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (e) 4 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil; and (f) 6 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil. Note that the kinematics begin to convey increasing magnitude at approximately 10 ms. This 10 ms offset from 0 ms was chosen to increase the reader ability to view the time variation in measurements.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Resultant angular head acceleration for: (a) 4 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (b) 6 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (c) 4 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (d) 6 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (e) 4 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil; and (f) 6 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil. Note that the kinematics begin to convey increasing magnitude at approximately 10 ms. This 10 ms offset from 0 ms was chosen to increase the reader ability to view the time variation in measurements.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Resultant upper neck force for: (a) 4 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (b) 6 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (c) 4 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (d) 6 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (e) 4 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil; and (f) 6 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Resultant upper neck moment for: (a) 4 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (b) 6 m/s head-first impacts to flat anvil; (c) 4 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (d) 6 m/s head first impacts to angled anvil; (e) 4 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil; and (f) 6 m/s torso-first impacts to flat anvil

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Typical helmet displacements showing the evolution of helmet displacement over increasing time. The evolution of displacement over increasing time presented is typical of all experiments. The shown data are for a backward fit and the impact configured as torso-first onto a flat anvil. In this presentation, Δd is the numerical difference of the helmet displacement at 50 ms and 20 ms. The images at the bottom of the figure are taken from high-speed video of the impact event, and correspond to the noted points in time.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Exemplar data for helmet displacement for torso-first impacts at 6 m/s onto a flat anvil

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